chicks picking feathers

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by whosdum, Sep 11, 2007.

  1. whosdum

    whosdum New Egg

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    Sep 2, 2007
    I have one chick 12 days old and one 10 day old.My 12 day old has been picking its wing and tail feathers since it was about 3 days old.its getting pretty bad doesnt have many left.I have noticed the other ones wing feathers are being picked at now.They dont act sick or stressed they seem like happy little silkie chicks.Im not sure but I think they are picking themselfs.I tried to seperate them to see if the picking would stop but that only lasted about 5 min.they wouldent stop chirping until they were together again.I need to do something or they wont have any wing or tail feathers left.
     
  2. dlhunicorn

    dlhunicorn Human Encyclopedia

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    Jan 11, 2007
    .... in the following article it explains how Methionine (shortage/deficiency) will cause pecking and eating of the feathers and this sounds like what is happening to your chicks... If you can , then get some Avia Charge 2000 (one of the few complete nutritional/vitamin supplements I know of) or failing that look for a special supplement for molting birds as this will have extra Methionine in it (check the packaging to make sure though) ... it may be for pigeons or cage birds...doesnt matter as long as it has the methionine in it. Offer live culture plain yogurt as this also has a wee bit of methionine in it and the probiotics in it will also help your birds... here is that article:
    http://www.msstate.edu/dept/poultry/faq-ans.htm
    (excerpt)
    "The most common reason that feathers do not develop is a deficiency of a critical protein constituent (amino acid) from the diet of the birds. The feathers of birds contain high levels of a subunit of proteins called "methionine". Methionine is one of only a few amino acids that contain sulfur, and sulfur is a major constituent of feathers. If bird diets are deficient in any single amino acid, it is probably methionine. An adequate level of methionine is required in the diet and a deficiency reduces growth and feather development. A methionine deficient bird tends to eat feathers in an attempt to satisfy a craving for this amino acid. A bird may even pull them from its own body.
    Few ingredients used in making poultry diets contain adequate amounts of methionine, so manufactured methionine is added to dietary mixtures to ensure that the birds receive an adequate amount. All quality poultry feeds are designed to contain adequate methionine and prevent reduced body growth and feather development. However, if additional grains (such as corn) are fed with the complete feed, the amount of methionine consumed by the bird can be inadequate for providing growth and feather development. Feeding of additional grains with complete poultry feeds is not recommended.

    If feathers are developed but are pulled or broken off, the cause is usually management related. Frequently mating birds often have an absence of feathers, especially on the backs and heads of hens. The males may also have feathers missing from the breast area. These feathers grow back after the breeding season is completed. Consult the publication Solutions for Poultry for recommendations for the supplementation of methionine when feeding methionine deficient diets.

    If feathers are missing from the abdominal and vent area, the frequent cause is the presence of external parasites like the northern fowl mite or poultry lice. Pest infestations are controlled by regular sprayings of the birds with an approved pesticide like permethrin. The house and other structures that birds frequently visit must also be sprayed. This ensures the elimination of any pests that can reinfest the birds. Several applications at two to three week intervals kill pests that hatch from eggs that were deposited prior to the initial spraying. Consult the publication Pesticides Used for Control of Poultry Insect Pests for approved treatments used on poultry "
     

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